WITH the day’s lengthening (at last) there is time to include some longer walks. This one through the heart of Wensleydale includes Bolton Castle, Aysgarth Falls, riverside walking and some attractive, typical Dales villages.

Head across the fields from Redmire towards the village of Castle Bolton. The path heads directly for Bolton Castle (it’s the village name which is Castle Bolton – confusing), certainly the best preserved castle in the area.

Bolton Castle is most famous as the "prison" of Mary Queen of Scots for six months as she awaiting the pleasures of Elizabeth I. It is worth paying the entrance fee at least for the gardens which are impressive throughout the spring and summer.

However, the walking has hardly started so it is soon time to move. From the castle leave via a gate to the west of the castle car park (follow the farm track to keep your height) and head initially through fields of sheep but soon on to the open moors.

The views both up and down Wensleydale are excellent. Where the farm track runs out follow the bridleway as it bends south/left and starts to drop steeply down towards the village of Carperby. The bridleway turns in to a lane just above the village and enters on its eastern fringes. Take your time walking through this lovely village, exactly as the "real" James Herriott (Alf Wight) did on his honeymoon in November 1941.

I find walking from Carperby to Aysgarth Falls not very satisfying, my best suggestion is to take the road heading south from the west end of the village for 350 metres and then head along the footpath in the fields to your right. This soon enters the car park and visitor centre at Aysgarth Falls.

If you have not visited the falls previously the most interesting circuit is to the east of the road near the visitor centre where there are viewing platforms and some lovely woodland walking. You can also get to the Upper Falls, to the west of the road near the road bridge at the foot of the road. It is a good time to stop and enjoy a bite and a brew.

Cross the River Ure at the road bridge and immediately in front of you some steep steps climb through some buildings in to the grounds of St Andrew's Church, a Grade II listed building set in a large church yard. Pick your way through the gravestones to emerge at its east end and start 4 and a half miles of excellent riverside walking.

It is rare in the Dales that you can you stick so close to a river on a public footpath for so long. It is well signposted. There are only two things to disturb the walk; meeting the busy A684 for 100 metres as it crosses Bishopdale Beck and a little further on where you may (and should not) be tempted to shorten the walk by crossing the stepping stones across the Ure.

The first bridge crossing of the Ure east of Aysgarth is at Bolton Hall, a lovely country house set in its own grounds. Take it. Continue north on the estate road, cross the busy road to Wensley and continue up the footpath to the attractive (another one!) village of Preston under Scar, a history dominated by lead mining.

A footpath heads west through the village and some woodland for three quarters of a mile before emerging at a road, turn left and drop the final half mile back in to the village of Redmire.

Fact box

Distance: Roughly 13.5 miles.

Height to Climb: 400m (1,310 feet)

Start: SE 047912. There is parking in Redmire to its north end.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard. A long walk but straightforward and easy to follow. The riverside section can be muddy after rains.

Refreshments: The Bolton Arms at Redmire is a lovely traditional Dales pub.

Be prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL30) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

Jonathan runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales:

• He has published 3 books on walks in the Dales; ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’, ‘The Dales 30’ mountains and the New ‘Walks without Stiles’ book.

• All (and more) are available direct from the Where2walk website.

• Book a Navigation Training day in Long Preston (Two Levels: Beginners or ‘Mountain Skills’) First Available Date is April 1.

Where2walk.co.uk also features 100’s of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.